British journal of pharmacology

Plumbagin inhibits tumour angiogenesis and tumour growth through the Ras signalling pathway following activation of the VEGF receptor-2.

PMID 21658027


Angiogenesis-based therapy is an effective anti-tumour strategy and previous reports have shown some beneficial effects of a naturally occurring bioactive compound plumbagin (5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1, 4-naphthoquinone). Here, we sought to determine the biological effects of plumbagin on signalling mechanisms during tumour angiogenesis. The effects of plumbagin were evaluated in various in vitro assays which utilised human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) proliferation, migration and tube formation. Plumbagin was also evaluated in vivo using chicken embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) and mouse corneal micropocket models., Human colon carcinoma and prostate cancer xenograft mouse models were used to evaluate the effects of plumbagin on angiogenesis. Immunofluorescence, GST pull-down and Western blotting were employed to explore the underlying mechanisms of VEGF receptor (VEGFR)2-mediated Ras signalling pathways. Plumbagin not only inhibited endothelial cell proliferation, migration and tube formation but also suppressed chicken chorioallantoic membrane neovascularzation and VEGF-induced mouse corneal angiogenesis. Moreover, plumbagin suppressed tumour angiogenesis and tumour growth in human colon carcinoma and prostate cancer xenograft mouse models. At a molecular level, plumbagin blocked the Ras/Rac/cofilin and Ras/MEK signalling pathways mediated by VEGFR2 in HUVECs. Plumbagin inhibited tumour angiogenesis and tumour growth by interference with the VEGFR2-mediated Ras signalling pathway in endothelial cells. Our findings demonstrate a molecular basis for the effects of plumbagin and suggest that this compound might have therapeutic ant-tumour effects.

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Plumbagin from Plumbago indica